My song today is ‘Time in a Bottle’. This is a hit single by singer-songwriter Jim Croce. Croce wrote the lyrics after his wife Ingrid told him she was pregnant, in December 1970. It appeared on his 1972 ABC debut album ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’. ABC originally did not intend to release the song as a single; but when Croce was killed in a plane crash in September 1973, its lyrics, dealing with mortality and the wish to have more time, had additional resonance. The song subsequently received a large amount of airplay as an album track and demand for a single release built. When it was eventually issued as a 7", it became his second and final Number1 hit. After the single had finished its two-week run at the top in early January 1974, the album ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’ became Number 1 for five weeks. The song was a Number 1 hit in the U.S.A., Canada and Australia.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of time in a bottle. How often do we hear the words, ‘If only I could have bottled……… I would have been a millionaire’. I have always been fascinated by people putting notes in a bottle and sending the glass craft out to sea, not knowing where their words will be washed up in the future, who will read them and with what effect!
Were you able to make a magical time capsule and place it in a bottle along with a message, what would your bottle contain? What would be the things in your life that have mattered to you which are associated with the memories of the most significant people in your world, the most memorable experiences you had, the unforgettable places in your history or the things that formed your character? I wonder what would be on your list because I know what would be on mine?
Bear in mind, this is ‘a magical time capsule’ you are placing in the sea which is capable of physically holding anything personal relating to you or any number of important ‘objects’ in your life (not people) but objects, feelings, images, memories, or anything sensory that are an intrinsic part of you and which remind you of certain people, particular places, unforgettable events and personal experiences you treasure.
Here are a few of my own precious things that I would bottle for posterity:
(1) There would be photographs of all my family members from my grandparents down to myself and wife, Sheila. These would include every family photograph of every special event, experience and memorable occasion we ever shared.
(2) I would have the following vinyl records in my bottle: Vera Lynn’s record of ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ as well as ‘The Isle of Innisfree’ (my mother’s favourite songs): ‘One Enchanted Evening’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ (my father’s favourite songs) : ‘Once I Had A Secret Love’ (Bill and Sheila’s wedding song): ‘The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane’ (the song that I heard in the distance on a hospital radio in 1953 when I eventually regained full consciousness after experiencing a horrific traffic accident).
(3) A video or CD of the Irish film ‘The Quiet Man’ which the Forde Family have watched every Christmas since our childhood to the present day.
(4) I would have ‘The Metal Man’ tower in Tramore, Ireland (the exact place where I was conceived): My maternal grandparent’s house in Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland (the house in which I was born): The two Forde family homes in West Yorkshire (where I grew up with my parents and six siblings until I married): My Mirfield home where I reared my five children: My Howarth Home (the Matrimonial home of mine and Sheila).
(5) My job locations in a Cleckheaton Mill (my first job), in Harrison Gardner’s Textile Mill in Liversedge (where I became the youngest textile shop steward in Great Britain), ‘St, Barnabas Youth Club’ in Hightown (where I became the youngest Youth Leader in Great Britain): The textile firm in Cleckheaton where I became a Mill Manager at the age of 25 years: The Huddersfield Probation Office where I worked for 26 years and from where I founded ‘Anger Management’ and became one of the country’s foremost Relaxation Trainers.
(6) Our allotment in Haworth where Sheila and I spend many happy hours together, along with some of the spuds that Sheila grow and I eat.
(7) All the birthday cards from my children (made by their own hands, along with the Christmas tree home-made ornaments to hang).
(8) A real Christmas Tree (only when I put up the annual seasonal tree in December, has my Christmas begun).
(9) A loaf of Sheila’s soda bread, a jar of each of my favourite jams of Sheila’s, including one jar of my friend, Ann Lister’s beautiful Whisky Marmalade: A loaf of my maternal grandmother’s soda bread baked on her big black oven range that filled one kitchen wall: A plate of grandfather’s homegrown potatoes swimming in salty Irish butter and accompanied by grandfather’s homegrown cabbage (the greenest cabbage I ever saw).
(10) All the 700 songs I have recorded over the past two years to improve my lung capacity and increase the oxygen levels in my blood.
(11) All 64 published books I have written since 1990 which raised over £200,000 for charity/charitable causes from their sales profit between 1990-2002. All profits from the continued sales of these books will be given to children’s schools and churches in perpetuity in the form of free books.
(12) My father's second-hand manual grass cutter which he used all his life in West Yorkshire to cut the large grassed garden of our corporation house in Windybank Estate and the church gardens three times weekly from the age of 36 until he died at the age of 75 years.
(13) My favourite chair that I sit on in my lounge in front of our fire.
(14) My first pair of infant footwear: A pair of second-hand worn shoes with holes in the soles that were covered in hard cardboard (to remind me of harder times during my development): A pair of the first expensive handmade Italian shoes I bought myself with my first wage packet at the age of 15 years: The iron shoe last which my father would put steel tips on my shoe caps and heels to make them last longer, along with nailing new leather soles as required (which usually meant until there were no shoe uppers left to sole). The last would also be used to stretch second-hand shoes that might be a size too small for me or one of my siblings to wear.
(15) My first sight of the bridge in my birth village of Portlaw: My first sight of St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Portlaw where I was baptised and where my maternal grandparents and Irish uncles are buried in the church graveyard: My first sight of Haworth: My first sight of my children after their birth: A montage photograph of mum and dad on their wedding day, a photograph of dad and mum Williams on their wedding day, and a photograph of me and Sheila on our wedding day.
(16) My first sight of Sheila in Haworth (my wife, my best love and my last love).
These are just a few of the things that I’d place in my magical bottle before casting it into the sea, along with one piece of advice for anyone who found my magical bottle in the future:
(17) My message would be, “Never forget the three most important words in the world to tell your marriage partner, your children, your parents, your siblings and your friends. every day you have contact with them, ‘I love you’”.
What would you place in your timeless bottle?
Love and peace Bill xxx